This Months Activities

Tuesday 1st

Line Dancing

Friday 4th

Evening batwatch paddle

Sunday 6th

Cycle ride

Saturday 12th

Mud and Mayhem

Sunday 20th

Survival skills

See write ups for other months












September Activities

Line Dancing - Veronica Wheatcroft-McGain

Line DancingStarting at around 3 years old with ballet, I have always loved and involved myself with all sorts of Dance, but never actually been tempted or tried Line Dancing, until now, the choice for my first experience with the 50+ Adventure Club.
Having collected a refreshing drink at the bar of the Band Club in Higham Ferrers (a good start) we assembled and formed four lines; I couldn't help noticing the lack of men participating, just one brave gentleman - good for him!! The pleasant 'Happy Feet' instructor was very skilled, being cleverly in touch with the overall ability of the class, graduating the advancement, so as not to intimidate, but moving on enough to avoid complacency or boredom!!
Changing direction featured quite a lot and having 'Happy Feet' experts flank the group on all sides helped our necks a lot. I was pleased the music was suitably varied, allowing one to put one's own interpretation into the movements, while still observing the correct footwork (eventually)!!
The class was made up of many enjoyable short sequences, with an interval, when a beautiful array of handmade jewellery, made by three of the 'Happy Feet' ladies was available to purchase. Happy Feet have raised £30,000 over the years for many charities and our cheques for this activity will be going to this years - SHINE (Northampton Deaf Children's Society).

Like most leisure activities, there is more to them than meets the eye. Thank you Lyn, for organising this beneficial exercise for body and lungs of course, but good for the brain - you can't day dream while Line Dancing, but have to focus and keep the memory actively stretched - there's a challenge chaps!

Batwatch Paddle - Anne Drury

Bat Paddle groupIt was a bright but chilly Friday evening when 20 of us met at Canoe2 at Ditchford. After H & S info and donning life jackets we set off down the river Nene, two to a canoe. Keith and I seemed to be the only ones who had never 'paddled' before but we managed without incident and like everyone else thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately no otters Batwatch Paddlewere seen but Mick Cook saw a kingfisher flash by and Barry saw a heron fly over. It was all very peaceful except for a short stretch close to the A45 road.
After returning most of us congregated around our cars for a drink and snack where Keith and I were adopted by a small black hen eager to eat my oatcake. Also Carole Houghton and Carol 'Doolittle' Pullen seemed to have an in depth conversation with two turkeys who responded noisily, causing laughter all round.
We then moved round to the Wildlife Trust reserve where Juliette and Rachel our leaders briefed us for the Bat Watch, showing us pictures of common bats and issuing some bat detectors to pick up ultrasonic frequencies used by bats as they hunt. As dusk fell we set off round the lakes. Very soon we began to pick up the clicking of Soprano Pipistrelle Bats one of the most common with occasional sounds of Noctule bats which is our biggest bat species. With only a fleeting sight of the bats we had to make do with the sounds which were very loud and clear.
Juliette was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic in her descriptions of the many different bat types and behaviours and explained that more and more is being discovered about the habits and sounds.
A really good new evening event.

Thanks to Jane for organising and Carol on the night.

Cycle Ride - Pat Fitzhugh

Bike rideOn a beautiful warm sunny Sunday morning (what luck), eight of us met at Brixworth Country Park for the annual cycle ride. Well, seven for a start. We decided to go in the opposite direction which Carol had originally planned so we would arrive at the pub just after opening time.  Off we set at a steady pace, then Carol received a phone call, the missing person had just turned up so we arranged to wait for her at Pitsford Car Park. Yeh the ice cream van was Relaxing after ridethere. rum and raisin lovely. Made the bike go better after that. When everyone was there we set of again, around the reservoir.  We all knew when Barry was behind us as we could hear the creaking. Janice thought a duck was following her, I thought it was my bike but Barry said it was his pedal; we were not convinced, creaking bones more like. We all stopped at the top of the hills to wait for those who couldn't quite make it and Janet who had to shed a few layers.
We reached Brampton Halt Pub for a welcome drink and bowls of chips (back on went the calories just worked off). We sat in the sun it was quite warm, so Janet took off several more layers, the sun then went in, so the layers went back on (sorry Janet it was funny).
As we left, a train was just pulling into the Brampton Halt Station which is behind the pub. It only runs up and down the line for a few miles and puts on special events for children at Christmas. After crossing the track, we were warned of several steep hills ahead. Not to be deterred off we went. I managed to get up them all but the last Pitsford Hill. It defeated all but John and Barry (pedal still creaking). Then onto the cafe for tea, cakes and lots of chatter.  11 miles in all, well done everyone.

Thank you Carol for a lovely day and ordering the Sun {a bonus}.

Mud and Mayhem - Hugh Marks

16 club members assembled at Adventure Sports just outside Warwick for an afternoon of 'Mud and Mayhem' on Saturday 12 September, although there was rather more mayhem than mud!
Adventure Sports provided 3 activities for us to try from the large selection that they offer - everything from Archery to Terex Digger Challenge. The three were 4x4 Off Road Driving, Quad biking and Blindfold Reverse Steering.
4x4 DrivingThe 4x4 Off Road Driving was provided by a weather beaten Land Rover Discovery on raised suspension which each of us drove in turn (with two others in the back and the instructor in the front passenger seat) up and down steep inclines, along deeply rutted tracks and, indeed, through some mud. Subscribers to the Club's Facebook page can see a short video of Chairman Dennis taking the first ascent at a good lick. Quad BikingBefore starting, the instructor had given dire warnings of the effect of using the brakes, clutch and not taking one's foot off the accelerator at the right time - in other words glue your left foot to the floor and let the vehicle do the work.
Quad biking was quite straightforward - driving a pair of bikes round a rutted circuit (no mud!) with a short slalom on one section.
Blindfold Reverse Steering was where most of the mayhem came in. This involved driving a Suzuki Vitara round a course marked out by pairs of flags in the colours of the snooker ball colours and a red pair which had to be returned to after going through each of the 'colour' pairs. All very straightforward? No! The Suzuki had been modified so that the car turned in the opposite direction from the way the steering wheel was turned. To make things more 'interesting' the driver was blindfolded and one (or two) other club members in the rear seats had to tell the driver which way to steer – except that the words 'left' and 'right' could not be used and some other words had to be agreed on to use instead. This gave ample scope for confusion and forgetfulness - especially if the driver had to follow the instructions of two rather than one 'back seat' navigator. Fortunately the instructor, who sat in the front passenger seat, controlled the accelerator, gears and brakes so the blindfolded driver only had to try and follow the navigator’s instructions and steer. This did not stop some drivers heading towards the rest of the group waiting on the sidelines with the instructor putting on the brakes with a few feet to spare.
A great afternoon and one which I think may well feature in following years - perhaps with a different selection of activities (hovercraft - please).

Survival Skills - Sheila Tilbrook

Follow my leader12 of us arrived on a beautiful morning at Fermyn Woods Country Park, not quite sure what to expect. Peter and Annie (our guides) were fantastic throughout the whole day (but did seem to have a slight obsession about us needing to wear pre-loved, smelly gloves at all times in case of thorns!), leading us initially up a steep hill and through the woods. Peter checked our navigation skills by asking us at the top of the hill to point towards Kettering, which people had a selection of opinions about.  Survival skill 1 - get your bearings from the sun. We then all put on blindfolds in order to simulate being lost in a wild area at night, and lined up one behind the other with lucky Val at the front. We then wandered for what seemed like miles through the woods, following a rope which had fortuitously been tied from tree to tree, all the while passing instructions to the person behind about obstacles being encountered. Survival skill 2 - communication, teamwork and trust. (When the blindfolds were removed we were fascinated to find that the whole area we had covered with turns and switchbacks was about the size of a large sitting room!!)

Bivouac buildingThen on to building bivouacs in which one person would be able to sleep for the night. We were split into 3 teams of 4 (Peter said it was worse than trying to organise a kindergarten class - how very rude!!) and Peter gave us some useful hints on the structure (most of which we then ignored and did our own thing!). We had 20 minutes so all scurried off collecting branches of various lengths to build the main structure and then utilised various methods of wind and water proofing our refuge. Peter and Annie (whilst trying not to laugh) judged all 3 and declared them all as good in their own ways, and then showed us that in fact what we could have done instead was hang a big bright orange plastic sheet over a stick about 3 foot from the ground, weighted down the sides and snuggled in there!  Survival skill 3 - don't make life harder for yourself than it needs to be!


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